If, like us, you have been glued to the screen watching the Tokyo Olympics 2020 you’ll have been treated to the thrilling spectacle of the finest sportsmen and women in the world competing for the greatest title of all.
However, you may also have seen some of the injuries that these top athletes have suffered in pursuit of their Olympic dream.
One of the most high profile of these happened to 28-year-old British athlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who has spent months recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon with the support of doctors and physiotherapists. Sadly, Johnson-Thompson crashed out of the 200m after experiencing an agonising pain in her right calf. Doctors later confirmed it wasn’t another rupture however it was enough to shatter her chances in the 2020 Olympics.
The Independent reported on 5 August: “Athletes say Achilles injuries are the worst to recover from because not only can you feel the pain, you can also measure it. The extra seconds in every watered-down run, every lowering of the box jump, every kilo off the squat rack.”
Ven der Plaetsen
For Belgium’s decathlon athlete, Thomas Ven der Plaetsen, the knee injury he suffered in the long jump, caused by hyperextension of the leg he used to launch himself, led to him being taken away from the track in a wheelchair.
Why prompt diagnosis is critical
As radiologists, what these examples show is just how dangerous sport can be, even with the most rigorous preparation, the best equipment and the highest levels of fitness. We see many different types of sporting injury here in the clinic – from minor sprains to severe ruptures and fractures. In every case, getting a prompt and accurate diagnosis is important for recovery because until you know what the injury is, and how extensive it is, it is impossible to know how best to treat it.
Minor injuries can often be treated at home using a combination of the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and anti-inflammatory medication or painkillers. Sometimes physiotherapy can support rehabilitation, with exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles.
How injuries are diagnosed
However, if you suffer a more serious injury or you have ongoing musculoskeletal pain, it is important to see a doctor who will examine you, discuss your symptoms and may send you for diagnostic imaging. Different diagnostic tests are offered depending on the suspected injury:
- X-rays are detailed images of the inside of your body. They work by passing radiation through your body. This gets absorbed by different tissues to produce pictures of your bones and joints.
- Ultrasound imaging uses high frequency sound waves to produce real-time pictures of the inside of your body. It can be used to diagnose tendon, ligament and muscle tears or inflammation and may also be used to guide injections during certain diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
- MRI scans use magnetic field and radio frequency energy to produce detailed images of bones, joints and soft tissues, as well as tumours and masses in the body. Your whole body enters the MRI scanner, which is like a large tube.
- CT scans create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body. They use ionising radiation which passes through your body to produce multiple detailed images.
- Diagnostic injections may be used to complement imaging scans such as CT, MRI or X-ray. An arthrogram injection works by injecting contrast dye into symptomatic joints using ultrasound or X-ray guidance.
Whatever type of sport you’re doing, the most important thing is to stop if you injure yourself as continuing to run or play on an injured limb can exacerbate the problem. As the experience of Katarina Johnson-Thompson shows, rehabilitation is as important as treatment and depending on the type of injury this may take a long time.
As well as diagnosing injuries, W27 also offers certain types of treatment which can be effective, such as therapeutic injections of platelet-rich plasma to support natural healing. Contact us for details about the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries.
If you have suffered a sporting injury, whether due to an accident or as a result of long-term damage, contact W27 for specialist advice and diagnosis.
SPORTS INJURY TREATMENT | MANCHESTER, LONDON, CHESHIRE + MORE
W27 provides fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions using the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The OrthTeam Centre Ohm Building – 168 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 2AF
Euxton Hall Hospital – Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DY
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre Manchester – 26-28 The Boulevard, Manchester, M20 2EU
The John Charnley Wing, Wrightington Hospital – Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9EP
The Spire Manchester – 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre London – 114a Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, SW7 4ES
HCA The Wilmslow Hospital – 52 Alderley Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1NY
Information about our Fees can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with a specialist, please contact the team to book an initial consultation.